Iraqi Premier League 2013-14 Champions
Iraqi Premier League 2012-13 Champions

Al Shorta - الشرطة

Al Qeetharah (The Harps) - القيثارة

Al Shorta 0-0 Al Kahrabaa - Friendly


An Al Shorta side missing a number of key players on international duty played out a disappointing goalless draw with newly-promoted Al Kahrabaa in their final friendly before the start of the new league season.

Nashat Akram had the biggest chance of the first-half as his long-range effort was saved by the 'keeper. Al Shorta were in total control of the game, as expected, and Al Kahrabaa were relying on counter-attacks to get near Al Shorta's goal. Ammar Abdulhusain missed a further two chances for the hosts and Al Kahrabaa could not deal with Nashat Akram who was creating most of Al Shorta's chances.

The second-half was dull, with Al Shorta's manager Mohamed Youssef introducing a number of young players onto the field. Al Kahrabaa started to get into the game more but neither side could find the net in a lifeless goalless draw.

Al Shorta start their Iraqi League season next week against Al Najaf at Baghdad S.C. Stadium.

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Al Shorta 2-0 Al Jaish - Friendly


Goals from new-boys Caion and Alaa Abdul-Zahra on Tuesday gave Al Shorta another 2-0 win over Al Jaish.

The game began at a fast pace, with Alaa having the first chance of the game but his shot failed to find the target. Al Shorta took the lead eleven minutes in through a penalty, won by Ahmed Ayad after exchanging passes with Nashat Akram and being fouled in the penalty area. Alaa stepped up to take and slotted it home to make it 1-0. Alaa was in fine form, causing Al Jaish lots of trouble and forcing them into unsuccessful counter-attacks. Al Shorta wasted a chance to go 2-0 up near the end of half-time; Ammar Abdulhusain won another penalty as he was felled in the area, but Nashat's spot-kick rolled wide of the goal and the scoreline remained 1-0. But Al Shorta would double their lead before the end of the first period, as Alaa set up Brazilian striker Caion to coolly finish past the 'keeper.

The second-half saw the introduction of three of Al Shorta's most promising youngsters in Muhanned Ali, Akram Jassim and Murtadha Hadeeb, but it was Al Jaish who looked the more dangerous side, especially in the last ten minutes but they could not find a way past Mohammed Gassid in goal and the game ended 2-0.

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Al Shorta 3-1 Karbalaa - Friendly


Alaa Abdul-Zahra's first goal for Al Shorta contributed to a comfortable 3-1 home win against Karbalaa in their seventh pre-season friendly.

Waleed Salem opened the scoring for the champions in the first-half. Al Shorta had won an indirect free-kick in Karbalaa's penalty area after a back-pass and the ball was passed to Waleed Salem who fired the ball into the net. Waleed then turned provider for the second goal, whipping in a great free-kick from which new defender Karrar Muhammed skillfully headed in over the 'keeper.

The second-half saw Karbalaa pull a goal back through a Brazilian player, but just minutes after entering the field, new forward Alaa Abdul-Zahra put the game to bed. The 'keeper saved a powerful shot from an Al Shorta player, and as the ball rolled out, Alaa fired in the rebound off of the inside of the right post and the game ended 3-1.

Click here to see Waleed Salem's goal, click here to see Karrar Muhammed's goal and click here to see Alaa Abdul-Zahra's goal.

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El Dakhleyah 0-1 Al Shorta - Friendly


Al Shorta won their third and final friendly game in Egypt on Tuesday as youngster Akram Jassim's first-half goal was enough for the Iraqi champions to secure victory.

Al Shorta started the game with Mohammed Gassid in goal, Karrar Muhammed, Waleed Salem, Ahmed Ayad and Makadji Boukar in defence, Hussein Abdul Wahid, Nashat Akram, Murtadha Hadeeb and Ammar Abdulhusain in midfield and Caion and Akram Jassim in attack.

The game was played at a fast pace but Al Shorta were dominating, largely thanks to the leadership and physical presence of Al Shorta's captain Nashat Akram in the heart of midfield. Caion, Akram Jassim and Nashat Akram all wasted chances to score early on but the Harps eventually got their goal in the 30th minute. Full-back Ahmed Ayad cut the ball back to Caion who cleverly laid it off to Akram Jassim to coolly slot home and give Al Shorta a one-goal lead. Nashat almost made it 2-0 straight away but his effort went wide of the post.

Muthanna Khalid made his first appearance for the club in the second-half, coming on for the injured Hussein Abdul Wahid, but it was Nashat who had Al Shorta's first chance of the second period, his free-kick sailing just over the bar. 'The Maestro' was controlling the midfield and a few minutes later he played a brilliant through ball to Brazilian striker Caion but he failed to find the net in what was a missed opportunity to double the Police's lead.

Karrar Hameed, Sherko Kareem and Muhanned Ali all came onto the field late on, replacing Caion, Akram Jassim and the injured Muthanna Khalid, but in the 80th minute El Dakhleyah won a penalty due to Sherko Kareem's clumsy foul in the box. Fortunately for the Iraqi side, the El Dakhleyah midfielder blasted the spot-kick wide and Al Shorta held on for the final ten minutes to ensure victory in their final friendly game on their training camp in Cairo, Egypt. Al Shorta will return to Baghdad on Thursday ahead of their Iraqi Premier League opener against Al Minaa on 30/09/2014.

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Telephonat Bani Swaif 1-2 Al Shorta - Friendly


Al Shorta secured their third victory of pre-season against Egyptian second division side Telephonat Bani Swaif with a 2-1 win.

Al Shorta dominated large parts of the game, with 'The Maestro' Nashat Akram bagging his first goal of pre-season and defender Waleed Salem scoring the second for the Iraqi League champions.

The Harps now have one friendly remaining on their camp in Egypt and that is on 16/09/2014 against El Dakhleyah, an Egyptian Premier League team.

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Al Gounah 2-1 Al Shorta - Friendly


Al Shorta were defeated 2-1 in a tight friendly game with Egyptian Premier League side Al Gounah on Monday.

In what was an even, fast-paced encounter between two top sides, Al Gounah just managed to secure the victory. Al Shorta, wearing their purple third kit (that was inspired by the purple strips that Aliyat Al Shorta wore in the 1960s and 1970s) for the first time, started the game with goalkeeper Mohammed Gassid, defender Karrar Muhammed, an African defender on trial, full-back Mahdi Kareem, full-back Ahmed Ayad, midfielder and captain Nashat Akram, midfielder Hussein Abdul Wahid, midfielder Makadji Boukar, forward Sherko Kareem, forward Ammar Abdulhusain and forward Caion on the field.

Al Gounah's first goal came from poor defending by Al Shorta from a corner. The corner was whipped in to the front post and an Al Shorta player accidentally flicked the ball with his head towards the back post where an unmarked Al Gounah player nodded in. Al Shorta's only goal came from new striker Marwan Husain, who scored his third pre-season goal in four games for the club, but it was not enough to prevent the Egyptians from going on to win the game 2-1.

Al Shorta will now face Telephonat Bani Swaif in their next friendly in three days' time.

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El Entag El Harby 1-2 Al Shorta - Friendly


Al Shorta defeated newly-relegated Egyptian side El Entag El Harby 2-1 in a friendly thanks to goals from new strikers Marwan Husain and Brazilian Caion.

They started the game with Mohammed Gassid in goal, Hamdy Al-Massri, Karrar Muhammed, Mahdi Kareem and an African player on trial in defence, Hussein Abdul Wahid, Makadji Boukar, Murtadha Hadeeb and Ahmed Ayad in midfield and Marwan Husain and Caion up front.

Marwan Husain opened the scoring in the tenth minute, finishing after being played through by youngster Murtadha Hadeeb. That was his second goal of pre-season. Ahmed Ayad then wasted two chances to score before a mistake by Mohammed Gassid in goal allowed the Egyptian side to equalise in the 40th minute. But just three minutes later, new Brazilian striker Caion scored a brilliant solo goal, running from the centre of the field towards goal and firing it into the net to restore Al Shorta's one-goal lead.

The level of performance for both teams was lower in the second-half. Al Shorta's Egyptian manager Mohamed Youssef introduced Nashat Akram, Sherko Kareem, Ammar Abdulhusain and Haider Salem into the game but no teams could get another goal in the second period and the game ended 2-1 to Al Shorta in what is their first victory of their training camp in Egypt this pre-season.

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Al Khaleej 0-0 Al Shorta - Friendly


Al Shorta drew 0-0 with Al Khaleej, a club currently in the second division in the United Arab Emirates, on Sunday in their first friendly in Cairo.

The starting line-up consisted of Mohammed Hameed, Hamdy Al-Massri, Ali Bahjat, Dhirgham Ismail, Mahdi Kareem, Hussein Abdul Wahid, Makadji Boukar, Ahmed Ayad, Karrar Hameed, Amjad Kalaf and Caion.

Although Al Shorta dominated the game, they will be disappointed not to have scored a goal in the match and will be hoping to win their next friendly on their camp in Egypt.

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Al Shorta 2-0 Al Jaish - Friendly


Al Shorta defeated Iraqi Division 1 side Al Jaish 2-0 on Wednesday with goals from Amjad Kalaf and new signing Marwan Husain securing a morale-boosting victory.

Manager Mohamed Youssef decided to start the game with a 4-5-1 formation with Mohammed Gassid in goal accompanied by Karrar Muhammed, Ali Bahjat, Waleed Salem and Dhirgham Ismail in defence. Captain Nashat Akram, vice-captain Hussein Abdul Wahid, Makadji Boukar, Ahmed Ayad and Amjad Kalaf made up the midfield, with Brazilian striker Caion the lone forward.

The first-half ended goalless but Al Shorta had had the best chances. The link-up play between Dhirgham Ismail, Nashat Akram and Amjad Kalaf (all members of Al Shorta's 2012-13 squad who won the league title) was sublime with 'The Maestro' Nashat Akram spraying through balls across the field using his exceptional vision to create attacking moves as he had done so well with the club in 2013. New Cameroonian midfielder Makadji Boukar was impressive, exciting supporters with his strength in the centre of midfield.

The second-half saw the introduction of goalkeeper Mohammed Hameed (replacing Mohammed Gassid), defender Hamdy Al-Massri (replacing Waleed Salem), midfielder Mahdi Kareem (replacing Ahmed Ayad) and striker Marwan Husain (replacing Caion) and this was when it all happened for the home side. Soon after the break, Nashat and Amjad Kalaf continued to link up with each other with the former playing a brilliant through ball to the latter. Amjad Kalaf then fired the ball over the 'keeper and into the net from a tight angle to make it 1-0 to the champions.

Mohamed Youssef then made three more substitutions, bringing on Sherko Kareem for Amjad Kalaf, Akram Jassim for Hussein Abdul Wahid and young midfielder Murtadha Hadeeb for Makadji Boukar. With ten minutes of the game remaining, Marwan Husain burst through on goal but was hacked down by an Al Jaish defender, winning a penalty which he stepped up to take and duly converted to double Al Shorta's advantage. Al Shorta fans will be hoping that he can continue to score goals when the season starts as he did so ruthlessly with his former club Al Zawraa.

The game ended 2-0 to Al Shorta, who will be travelling to Cairo tomorrow for a training camp as preparation for the new Iraqi League season.

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